Golf Like a Champ: LA’s Best Public Courses

If you love golf, LA is not a bad place to live. Its sunny, predictable weather provides essentially 365 opportunities to play the game. The city helps by offering some incredible courses at ridiculously reasonable fees. These are just a few:

Los Feliz 3-Par:

We’ll warm up a bit with Los Feliz: It’s a little oasis of green that provides a soothing atmosphere for a game full of gentlemanly swears under one’s breath. However, those relaxing, verdant trees are a double edged sword, providing plenty of hazards and challenges. Opened in 1947 as a driving range, it’s evolved throughout the years to be a favored spot among Angelenos, whether they’re playing or eating at the adjacent cafe, Eatz, full of delicious diner food and booze. People at all skill levels play this course, so it’s not unusual for pace of play to be relatively slow. Buy beer in the cafe or feel free to bring your own. Did we mention it was immortalized in the movie “Swingers”?

Stats: 1,043 yards, 9 holes, par 27

Cost: LA Residents: Monday – Thursday: $5.50, Friday: $6.25, Weekends/holidays: $7

Rental clubs available

Roosevelt:

Maybe you want more difficulty than Los Feliz, but less of a time commitment than a full course: head to Roosevelt. Located in Griffith Park, it’s a challenging, hilly course that tends to attract more experienced players than Los Feliz. It’s a walk-only course, so peaceful and beautiful you have no idea you’re in the middle of bustling Los Angeles, in the shadow of the Observatory. There’s a good cafe on hand as well as putting greens for practice. Roosevelt provides one walk that golf can’t ruin, no matter how you score that day.

Stats: 2,478 yards, 9 holes, par 33

Rating: 31.3

Rental clubs and pull carts available

Cost: LA Residents: Monday-Thursday: $14.50, Friday: $16.75, Weekends/holidays: $19

Rental clubs and pull carts available

Wilson and Harding: two 18-hole courses

These two full courses are essentially intertwined with one another in Griffith Park, making it look like the world’s largest course. They, too, are beautiful courses, and on these two you get to wheel around in a golf cart. It can be a little confusing where your next hole is so a map is highly advised. These courses co-hosted the Los Angeles Open in the 1930s, so they offer up plenty of long drives and challenging hazards. You also get something of an urban safari: it’s not unusual to spot coyotes, herds of deer, and rabbits on the greens. These courses also come chock full of bonuses: You’ve got the benefit of a pro shop, stocked with knowledgeable pros, a driving range (6 am -10 pm), locker rooms, cafe, and banquet hall.

Stats:

Wilson: 6,967 yards, 18 holes, par 72

Rating: 73.0

Harding: 6,679 yards, 18 holes, par 72

Rating: 71.3

Cost:

Wilson: LA Residents: Monday- Thursday: $33, Friday: $37, Weekends/holidays: $43

Harding: LA Residents: Monday-Thursday: $30, Friday: $34, Weekends/holidays: $40

Rental clubs, golf carts, and pull carts available

Hansen Dam Course:

There aren’t that many places in Los Angeles to see large collections of water (outside of the beaches), but Hansen Dam Course sits at, you guessed it, the Hansen Dam face. This is one of the newer courses, opening in 1964 and it was honored in 2008 by Golf Digest as one of the “Best Places To Play.” Part of the reason has to do with the big distinction between the front and back nine: The course challenges players with big changes in elevation and landscaping. They give you the option of playing just the back nine, but only during the first hour of daylight, so you’d better be an early riser or you’re in for the whole shabang. In addition to a driving range and putting greens, Hansen Dam offers a place to practice chipping and lessons if the practice isn’t paying off.

Stats: 6,669 yards, 18 holes, par 72

Rating: 71.8

Cost: LA Resident: Monday-Thursday: $30, Friday: $34, Weekends/holidays: $40

Club, golf cart and hand cart rentals available

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